Check out how Lenovo’s networking can help you transform your digital transformation in the white paper, Modern Networking Infrastructure is the Next Logical Step in Digital Transformation.
Businesses must continuously innovate to achieve an edge over competition. In order to innovate faster, businesses must be agile. IT plays a significant role in agility and driving your competitive edge. Advancements in cloud, IoT, big data, etc., drive the need for digital transformation to modernize your network to help you succeed in a competitive economic environment. Different organizations have different approaches to networking. Some like to build their network monolithically with products from one vendor while others prefer open and multivendor networks. Though the monolithic approach worked well in the past, networking technologies have evolved and monolithic networks cannot easily scale to meet the business needs. It is hard to imagine that one company’s solutions can offer you all the technical advancements and innovation. Additionally, being locked in to one vendor has its financial disadvantages too.
Technologies such as AI, DevOps, machine learning, containers, network virtualization, etc., improve productivity, increases uptime, reduce errors and reduce costs. In order to leverage these technologies to gain productivity benefits and/or competitive advantages, the underlying hardware and software must enable the technology implementation. However, many existing networks cannot fully leverage the technology advancements to handle the new increased and complex workload demands on the data center. This is driving the need for digital transformation. As you go through digital transformation, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Evolving workloads and traffic patterns (East-West) constantly drive the need to evolve your data center networking.
- A vertically integrated approach leveraging just one vendor limits the options of taking advantage of the latest innovations to evolve the data center quickly.
- A Lego-like approach with open and flexible networking can help to build a future-proof network that can help you deal with new requirements easily. Such an approach involves the right hardware switches, scalable network operating system, advanced functionalities such as in-band telemetry, analytics, intelligent control of the networks and a way to self-heal and optimize the networks.
Here are some steps to consider for digital transformation that allows flexibility for future growth:
First, the switches used for top of the rack, leaf and spine deployments need to be very robust. It’s like constructing a building – the foundation needs to be strong and efficient. The hardware needs to be reliable and interoperable. Low latency and high throughput are required to deal with the ever-growing time sensitive volumes of data. Both capital expenditure and operational costs have to be factored in. While some products might offer low capital expenses, the ongoing operational expenses due to software licensing and upgrades, support, services, power consumption, etc. can make the business case unviable. Therefore, total cost of ownership should play a significant role in the decision. Lenovo’s Spine-Leaf range of switches offers the lowest TCO in the industry, as validated by ACG Research. Kenneth Hansen, CTO at IT Forum Gruppen said designing their Spine-Leaf architecture based on Lenovo switches allows them to scale seamlessly with their evolving needs.
Second, the switches are only as good as the software that enables them. Many operating systems are dated. Modern data centers have evolving traffic patterns in exponentially higher volumes than before and most of the communications happen East-West. This drives the need for a truly scalable multi-threaded operating system, such as Lenovo’s Cloud Network Operating System (CNOS). The operating system should be easy and intuitive to use, have the right features and allow the best possible implementations. Lenovo’s CNOS offers faster convergence and superior performance in some use cases compared to leading vendors as validated by Tolly Group. For example, Lenovo’s CNOS allowed Braathe Gruppen to increase their storage throughput 10X when migrating to Microsoft storage spaces, according to Håkon Svendsen, CTO, Braathe Gruppen, Norway.
Third, with a modern operating system like CNOS with support for telemetry and analytics, it is even possible to predict and prevent network outages. Telemetry can feed relevant and actionable information about the health of the network and how it can impact the critical workloads. Machine learning makes it possible to estimate when the networks might reach the pre-defined threshold (memory usage for example) based on the current workloads. Lenovo’s Intelligent Network Controller (LINC) can use this information and help to re-optimize the network and ensure smooth performance of the workloads.
Fourth, the network controller must be able to support containers securely, migrate policies, and support virtual machines (VM) as well. As your business grows, your network needs to grow and scale. Often this requires you to have multi-cloud deployments. An intelligent controller like LINC can manage and orchestrate multi-cloud data centers. Based on the information from telemetry, it can help you to mitigate risks and reduce downtime while ensuring that your network is performing at an optimum level.
It’s an exciting time for networking with new technologies abound. However, in order to leverage the benefits of modern technologies, the underlying infrastructure must be built with the future in mind. Lenovo’s open approach to networking prevents the drawbacks of a monolithic network. As you go through digital transformation, keep in mind that technologies constantly evolve. The infrastructure built for today must be able to deal with the evolving nature of and volumes of traffic driven by complex workloads and new technologies that are yet to come. You need a strong foundation that enables you to leverage the modern technologies and drive competitive advantage. Lenovo networking can help you transform your network and your business!
For more information on how Lenovo’s networking can help you transform your digital transformation, check out the white paper, Modern Networking Infrastructure is the Next Logical Step in Digital Transformation.